There are various well-known paradoxes of modal recombination. This paper offers a solution to a variety of such paradoxes in the form of a new conception of metaphysical modality. On the proposed conception, metaphysical modality exhibits a type of indefinite extensibility. Indeed, for any objective modality there will always be some further, broader objective modality; in other terms, modal space will always be open to expansion.
Following Smiley’s influential proposal, it has become standard practice to characterise notions of relative necessity in terms of simple strict conditionals. However, Humberstone and others have highlighted various flaws with Smiley’s now standard account of relative necessity. In their recent article, Hale and Leech propose a novel account of relative necessity designed to overcome the problems facing the standard account. Nevertheless, the current article argues that Hale & Leech’s account suffers from its own defects, some of which Hale & Leech (...) are aware of but underplay. To supplement this criticism, the article offers an alternative account of relative necessity which overcomes these defects. This alternative account is developed in a quantified modal propositional logic and is shown model-theoretically to meet several desiderata of an account of relative necessity. (shrink)
I present a novel argument against the non-contingency of identity. I first argue that the necessity of distinctness is intimately connected with numerous paradoxes of recombination. In particular, I argue that those who reject the necessity of distinctness have natural solutions to various paradoxes of recombination which have plagued the metaphysics of modality. Moreover, I argue that adding the necessity of distinctness to modest, paradox-free assumptions is sufficient to reinstate the paradoxes. Given that identity is non-contingent only if distinctness is (...) necessary, I suggest this constitutes new evidence against the non-contingency of identity. (shrink)
Contingentism is the view that it is contingent which things exist. Despite its plausibility, advocates of contingentism face a well-known ‘challenge’ to demonstrate that they can draw what appear to be intelligible modal distinctions (Williamson Modal Logic as Metaphysics. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2013). In this article, I argue that if certain controversial modal principles fail, the challenge contingentists face becomes much more difficult. Whereas extant challenges concern contingentists’ inability to draw quite theoretical second-order modal distinctions, I present a challenge (...) which concerns contingentists’ inability to draw simpler first-order distinctions. This indicates that in certain modal settings there may well be significant first-order barriers to maintaining contingentism. (shrink)
Following David Lewis, Ted Sider has famously argued that unrestricted first-order quantification cannot be vague. His argument was intended as a type of reductio: its strategy was to show that the mere hypothesis of unrestricted quantifier vagueness collapses into the claim that unrestricted quantification is precise. However, this short article considers two natural reconstructions of the argument, and shows that each can be resisted. The theme will be that each reconstruction of the argument involves assumptions which advocates of vague quantification (...) have independent reason to reject. (shrink)
Let Nomological Bound be the thesis that there is nothing objectively possible beyond what is physically possible. Nomological Bound has struck many as a live hypothesis. Nevertheless, in this article I provide a novel argument against it. Yet even though I claim that Nomological Bound is false, I argue that the boundaries of objective possibility can still be characterized intimately in terms of physical necessity. This is philosophically significant, for on a natural understanding it constitutes the powerful anti-sceptical result that (...) those who believe in physical necessity should not harbour any scepticism towards merely metaphysical possibilities. (shrink)
Chisholm’s paradox serves as an important constraint on our modal theorising. For example, one lesson of the paradox is that widely accepted essentialist theses appear incompatible with metaphysical necessity obeying a logic that includes S4. However, this article cautions against treating Chisholm’s paradox in isolation, as a single line of reasoning. To this end, the article outlines two crucial morals about Chisholm’s paradox which situate the paradox within a broad family of paradoxes. Each moral places significant constraints on the paradox’s (...) solution space. In light of this perspective, the paper applies the two morals to a recently proposed solution to Chisholm’s Paradox by Benj Hellie, Murray and Wilson Oxford studies in metaphysics, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2012). (shrink)